How does virtual reality technology work?

Virtual Reality has become a mainstream technology since 2017. You can now buy an excellent VR headset for just $200 and start experiencing the best of the simulated world. The tech has been simplified so much that it looks like magic.

But at the end of the day, the biggest innovation is just another technology that has evolved over time.

So how does VR work?

From a functional standpoint, VR is a very simple concept. It removes external light stimuli by means of a tightly fitting, ‘dark room like’ head mounted device, like a VR headset. It then presents stereoscopic images using either smartphone screen or two individual screens arranged at a specific distance from a pair of lenses.

The distance between the lenses and the screen is adjustable to meet an individual’s needs.

A Smartphone or a console device or a PC will supply the 3D images to the headset.

Owing to the darkroom effect, the user can see a simulated reality all around him. The motion sensors in the headset and the software presents the appropriate visuals whenever a user moves his head in any direction. The sensors and display are calibrated to provide variations near instantaneously. So the user feels like he is moving in a real world.

In this way, VR tricks your brain into believing the virtual is real. In the last four years, tremendous progress has been achieved in VR technology which has made it possible for us to fool the brain into believing in VR.

But there are still some things VR has not been able to conquer successfully.

People cannot use VR for longer than 30 minutes due to health safety issue. They may feel fatigue and nausea within a few minutes of putting on the headset. Although VR headset covers the visual stimuli and fools that part, the inner ear which provides feedback on the body’s balance, is not fooled by VR and it tells the brain there is a misunderstanding.

That leads to several problems starting from dizziness and can even lead to seizures. Even if you stop using VR, you can continue to feel the effects of VR sickness for hours or even days.

These kinds of problems are keeping us from making the full use of this new technology. Many tech companies are hard at work to remove these health problems and maybe in a year or two, they will succeed.

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